So you’ve chosen an egg donor — congratulations! But if you’re like many intended parents, once the paperwork is signed, you’re left wondering: Now what?
First, a note about timing. While egg donor cycles vary in length depending on a variety of factors including clinic availability, clinics like ours at Beverly Hills Egg Donation will counsel intended parents that cycles with a first-time donor typically take around three months to complete, from matching to egg retrieval.
But once that happens, here are the next steps:
Medical Evaluation and Clearance
A first-time donor will have a psychological screening (including a consultation with a psychologist and a personality test) and genetic counseling (an in-depth interview with a genetic counselor) prior her medical screening. The resulting psych and genetic counseling reports are then sent to your doctor.
At the donor’s medical screening appointment at your clinic, the doctor will check various hormone levels via bloodwork, including estradiol, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone). Some doctors will also run genetic tests at this appointment; others will wait for the hormone results to come back before initiating further testing. Genetic tests generally take two to three weeks to result. Once the doctor has received and reviewed the test results, and assuming everything is normal, the donor will be given medical clearance to proceed.
The process leading to medical clearance typically takes about a month. If the donor has been using an IUD or implant for contraception, or if she is found to have a cyst, medical clearance may be delayed. Medical clearance can also take longer if additional genetic testing for either you or the donor is deemed necessary by your doctor.
Once medical clearance has been issued, the cycle moves on to the legal stage, during which the egg donor agreement is drafted and signed. You will need an attorney who specializes in reproductive law (a subspecialty of family law) to draft the contract for you. Clinics like Beverly Hills Egg Donation can recommend an attorney if you don’t already have one. The donor will have her own attorney who will review the draft with her. Once both parties have signed the egg donor agreement, your attorney will send a legal clearance letter to your doctor. Typically clinics will not put together a donor’s cycle dates until legal clearance has been issued.
Stimulation and Retrieval
The final step of the cycle is the stimulation phase, during which the donor is on injectable medication to induce the ovaries to produce more eggs. It generally takes around twelve days from the start of injectable medications to the egg retrieval. After that, the time from the retrieval to the embryo transfer varies, as there are different procedures, protocols, and tests used by each doctor.
Using a Previous Donor
Of course, you may have chosen a previous donor rather than someone who has never donated before. If that is the case, it’s possible that the process may go a little more quickly, particularly if your doctor determines that the donor doesn’t need any additional genetic testing.
It’s also worth noting that the cycle timing detailed here is approximate and may vary based on the schedules of the doctor, donor, and intended parents.